Header- Phone Number

01752 510913

Header – Email Address

info@landlordssouthwest.co.uk

Statutory Debt Repayment Plan: Consultation (Closes 5th August)

Posted on June 29th, 2022 -

**THIS WILL LIKELY AFFECT LANDLORDS IN REGARDS TO REPAYMENT OF RENT ARREARS – WE ENCORAGE MEMBERS TO RESPOND TO THE CONSULTATION**

Consultation description

The SDRP will be a new statutory debt solution focussed on repayment of debt, rather than debt relief, addressing a gap in the debt solution landscape. The SDRP will include a broad range of debts, including debts owed to the government and to creditors outside of financial services and will protect debtors from enforcement action, creditor contact, and interest, fees and charges on their debts while they repay them.

The government consulted on aspects of the SDRP in 2018/19, and published a response to that consultation in June 2019, setting out a basic blueprint for the scheme.

This consultation on the SDRP sets out the policy development that has taken place since 2019. It seeks stakeholder views on three broad areas:

  • the draft regulations necessary to implement the SDRP
  • questions on outstanding policy issues and operational considerations
  • a consultation stage draft impact assessment

Documents;

Statutory Debt Repayment Plan: consultation on draft regulations

Ways to respond

 

Full article from gov.uk; https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statutory-debt-repayment-plan-consultation

 


Free Landlord Webinar by ‘Ashley Taylors Legal’ 05/07/2022

Posted on June 24th, 2022 -

**PLEASE NOTE – THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR – PLEASE SIGN UP BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW IF YOU WISH TO ATTEND** Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal invites all SWLA members to the following free landlord webinar; When10.30am Tuesday 5th July 2022  SubjectLandlord and Tenant reforms – The White Paper WhereZoom An introduction and overview of the changes and new grounds for possession coming up in the forthcoming new legislation intended to “level up” the PRS for tenants. It will last last the normal 35 minutes with hard hitting facts and things you need to know, prepare for and act upon in the letting industry. If you would like to sign up, please click the following registration link to register in advance; https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z15legn0QNC_GS2KXyOtWQ After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Any questions in advance please email to events@ashleytaylors.co.uk The webinar is limited to 1000 attendees on a first come, first served basis.


Save Money and File Your Tax Return

Posted on June 24th, 2022 -

Did you know, filing your 21-22 tax return now could reduce your payment on account for July!

 Payment on Account is due for many on 31st July 2022.

By now you will have received your brown envelope off HMRC if you are due to make a payment on account on 31st July.

If you earnt less in the period 6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022 than you did in the previous year now is the time to file your return and look to reduce your payment on account this July.

Not sure – do your return now, filing early doesn’t mean paying early.

Information from Go Simple Tax



Renters Reform Bill – White Paper Published

Posted on June 16th, 2022 -

Proposals have been announced in the ‘Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper, published today (16 June 2022). The Renters Reform Bill will be introduced in this parliamentary session (later in 2022). The proposed reforms go much further than we expected. The White Paper can be read here;

A Fairer Private Rented Sector (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Article from gov.uk;

New deal for private renters published today

Fairer private rented sector white paper to ensure improvements to the rights and conditions for millions of renters.

  • New blueprint for renters reform will end the injustice of unfit homes and help protect renters from rising cost of living
  • We will ban section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and extend the Decent Homes Standard to the sector
  • We will end arbitrary rent review clauses, give tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes
  • It will be illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
  • We will make it easier for tenants to share their homes with much-loved pets

The fairer private rented sector white paper published today (16 June 2022) will ensure millions of families benefit from living in decent, well looked-after homes as part of the biggest shake up of the private rented sector in 30 years.

The white paper marks a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants. It provides new support for cost of living pressures with protections for the most vulnerable, and new measures to tackle arbitrary and unfair rent increases. This is part of a wider reform agenda to improve lives and level up the country, delivering more housing and greater protections for tenants and homeowners.

The majority of tenants enjoy safe and secure rentals, but for the 21% of private renter and households who currently live in unfit homes, this ‘New Deal’ will extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector for the first time, levelling up opportunities. This means homes must be free from serious health and safety hazards, and landlords must keep homes in a good state of repair so renters have clean, appropriate and useable facilities.

So-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions – that allow landlords to terminate tenancies without giving any reason – will be outlawed. More than a fifth of private renters who moved in 2019 and 2020 did not end their tenancy by choice, including 8% who were asked to leave by their landlord.

Measures published today also include:

  • Helping the most vulnerable by outlawing blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
  • For the first time, ending the use of arbitrary rent review clauses, restricting tribunals from hiking up rent and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes. This will make sure tenants can take their landlord to court to seek repayment of rent if their homes are of unacceptable standard
  • Making it easier for tenants to have much-loved pets in their homes by giving all tenants the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse
  • All tenants to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, meaning they can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change. A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law
  • Doubling notice periods for rent increases and giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified
  • Giving councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increasing fines for serious offences

In addition, the estimated 2.3 million private landlords will have greater clarity and support through the following measures:

  • A new Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be created to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court
  • Ensuring responsible landlords can gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants and can sell their properties when they need to
  • Introducing a new property portal that will provide a single front door to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators

These reforms will help to ease the cost of living pressures renters are facing, saving families from unnecessarily moving from one privately rented home to another hundreds of pounds in moving costs.

We have already taken significant action over the past decade to improve private renting, including reducing the proportion of non-decent private rented homes from 37% to 21%, capping tenancy deposits and banning tenancy fees for tenancy agreements signed after 1 June 2019, and introducing pandemic emergency measures to ban bailiff evictions.

Today’s measures will form part of the Renters Reform Bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech, to be introduced in this parliamentary session. This will deliver on our commitment to give renters a better deal and make the private rented sector fit for the 21st century with safer, more secure and higher quality homes.

Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:

For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them.

Our New Deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.

While the majority of private rented homes are of good quality, offering safe, comfortable accommodation for families, the conditions of more than half a million properties – or 12% of households – pose an imminent risk to tenants’ health and safety, meaning around 1.6 million people are living in dangerously low-quality homes, driving up costs for our health service.

The sector offers the most expensive, least secure, and lowest quality housing to millions of renters, including 1.3 million households with children and 382,000 households over 65. Rents are also rising at their fastest level for 5 years. This can damage life chances and hold back some of the most deprived parts of the country.

Today’s move marks the latest phase in delivering on the government’s levelling up missions, taking serious steps to halve the number of poor-quality rented homes, across both private and social tenures, by 2030.

Last week the government introduced the Social Housing Regulation Bill which means failing social housing landlords could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections.

In a major reset of power between tenants and landlords, residents will be able to demand information and rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures. Taken together with today’s renters reform white paper, the Bill will form a key part of the government’s mission to level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.

Original article; New deal for private renters published today – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further articles of interest;

White Paper claims a fairer deal for the PRS | Propertymark

The Agent Blog – Goodlord | Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper

 


Homes for Ukraine – Accessible Properties Required to Rent

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Accountancy firm PKF Francis Clark is looking for properties in the South West region that are suitable for wheelchair users.

The firm is a proud business sponsor of the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and is working with a charity, SMA Poland, helping those with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

There are at least four families looking to relocate to the UK, but the biggest challenge is finding suitable homes. The firm will be supporting them financially, (although the families can access benefits) and can act as a guarantor for the tenancy.

If you have a suitable property or if you have any queries, please contact Alix Reynolds or Mandy Reynolds at PKF Francis Clark on 01392 667000.


The Social Housing Regulation Bill set to be introduced to Parliament

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Failing social housing landlords could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections, under the Social Housing Regulation Bill set to be introduced to Parliament. The move will mean more people living in good quality, well looked-after homes.

The Regulator of Social Housing will have stronger powers to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice (down from 28 days) and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants, with landlords footing the bill.

In a major reset of power between tenants and landlords, residents will be able to demand information and rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures. The Bill will form a key part of the government’s mission to level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.

Tenants will have a direct line to government, with a new 250-person residents panel convening every 4 months to share their experiences with ministers, inform policy thinking and help drive change in the sector.

The Bill is the latest step in addressing the systemic issues identified following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, not just on the safety and quality of social housing, but about how some tenants are treated by their landlords.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “In 2022 it is disgraceful that anyone should live in damp, cold and unsafe homes, waiting months for repairs and being routinely ignored by their landlord. These new laws will end this injustice and ensure the regulator has strong new powers to take on rogue social landlords. We are driving up the standards of social housing and giving residents a voice to make sure they get the homes they deserve. That is levelling up in action.”

The biggest social housing providers will face regular inspections and the Levelling Up Secretary will continue to name and shame worst offenders to make sure residents are living in good quality homes.

Earlier this month, the Levelling Up Secretary called out Britain’s biggest social landlord Clarion after the Housing Ombudsman found severe cases of maladministration.

The Bill will also mean landlords will need to have a named person who will be responsible for health and safety requirements. And tenants of housing associations will be able to request information from their landlord, similar to how the Freedom of Information Act works for council housing.

Article Abridged from Property 118


MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – What’s Happening

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

In autumn 2020, the government began a consultation on tightening MEES rules. The proposals are currently just that, and no regulations have even been drafted yet. The consultation closed in January 2021, but the results have not yet been published.

However, the main proposed changes are as follows:

  1. Minimum EPC rating to be raised from E to C.

The plan is to enforce this from 1 April 2025 for existing tenancies, and from 1 April 2028 for new tenancies.

  1. Cost cap to be raised from £3,500 to £10,000 per property

The government says this would be sufficient to bring more than 90% of D-rated properties up to a C rating, as well as nearly 60% of E-rated properties. It’s not clear whether existing spending would count towards the new cap.

  1. “Fabric first” policy to be introduced

This would control in which order work is carried out, so improvements to the fabric of the building (ie insulation, windows and doors) must be done before additional measures such as new heating systems are installed.

 

The exemptions would remain largely unchanged. Additionally, the proposals recommend clarifying the rules for listed buildings and those in conservation areas, and introducing a central database of compliance and exemptions.

Mick Quick of Tech Surveys in Plymouth has recently pre-recorded a Zoom presentation for our members, he talks through the likely changes and what you can do now to prepare. If you would like to view the presentation, please contact the SWLA office and we can send you the link by email.


Property Listings: Price on Application Deemed Unlawful

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), have stated that the use of ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ in property listings contravenes consumer protection legislation.

NTSELAT’s was asked by the industry to provide a view on the use of POA as part of their ongoing process to improve the disclosure of material information on property listings.

The use of ‘POA’ in relation to a listing on a property portal or an agent’s website is likely to be misleading as it withholds or in some cases masks the asking price from consumers. A property’s price is information which the average consumer needs in order to make an informed transactional decision, i.e. make an enquiry about the property, conduct further research or arrange a viewing.

With support from Propertymark and other industry leaders, NTSELAT has launched a three-phase project which has been developed in response to defining what constitutes material information for property listings.

Also of note, under newly announced rules by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT), a property’s council tax band or rate, price and tenure (for sales) must now be included on all property listings by the end of May 2022.

Article Abridged from Propertymark


Government Boiler Upgrade Scheme Now Open

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

The UK Government Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is accepting applications in England and Wales for grants for the installation of low carbon heating systems.

Applications from property owners are now being accepted for grants of up to £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump or a biomass boiler, and up to £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump are available between now and 2025. The grant is paid directly to the installer and discounted from the price charged.

Landlords and second-home owners are included in the scheme, subject to the other conditions of a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation being met. Grants are not normally available for new build properties (except self-builds).

While the green solutions being promoted may not be suitable in all situations, this is an opportunity for landlords to look at all the options to improve the energy efficiency of their property before becoming mandated to do so. This in turn can reduce bills for tenants and make the property a better proposition to be let out.

These grants represent a way to upgrade with a significant financial contribution from the government.

In the Spring Statement, the UK Government set out their intention to require energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes, and plan to extend the minimum energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector in England and Wales.

This is linked to the Heat and Buildings Strategy launched in October 2021, and whilst BUS is an initial step to help property owners make homes more energy-efficient it is still unlikely that the energy efficiency targets for the PRS and a reduction in emissions across the property sector will be met.

For more information, see the SWLA newsfeed or visit the gov.uk website.

Article Abridged from Propertymark


Electric Vehicle Charging Point Grants for Landlords

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Landlords across the UK will be able to apply for 75% of the cost of charging points up to £350 where they own parking areas (but must be VAT registered or registered at Companies House to be eligible).

A related scheme enables tenants to apply for a similar grant on their own behalf. However, where landlords do not meet the registration requirements, tenants can apply themselves for a grant to have a charging point installed.

The chargepoint grant replaces the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) and as well as being open to tenants and landlords it includes:

  • right to manage (RTM) companies
  • companies owning the freehold of a leased or rented property
  • companies owning a building’s common areas. The company may comprise shareholders who are the leaseholders. The company may also manage the building

 

Electric vehicles are the future

The UK Government previously announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. With the lack of charging infrastructure being one of the key things thought to be holding back sales of electric vehicles (EVs), landlords can now apply for grants to install EV charging points at their properties, both residential and commercial.

There are several conditions that must be met to be eligible for a grant which is being administered by DVLA on behalf of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, and are claimed using a manual process initially, with a digital service expected in the Summer of 2022.

Grant paid to the installer

Once an authorised installer is chosen, they apply for the grant and must pass on the discount to the landlord or tenant meeting the remainder of the costs.

Landlords can receive up to 200 grants a year for residential properties, and a further 100 for commercial properties. These may be across several properties and installations or just for one property.

Fire protection measures

The new guidance also advises landlords installing EV chargepoints to update their fire protection measures to take account of the new installations. Further guidance on how this can be achieved in enclosed parking areas is expected later in 2022.

For more information, see the SWLA website newsfeed or the gov.uk website.

Article Abridged by Propertymark


Renters Reform Bill Pushed Back and Rent Controls off the Table

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Renters Reform

Housing Minister Eddie Hughes was answering written questions to Parliament and indicated that the Renters Reform Bill that includes proposals to ban Section 21 would be pushed back (after previously stating the White Paper would be published in Spring 2022). He seems uncertain on timescales. We will update members by email, and via our bulletin once the White Paper is published.

In answer to a question from Olivia Blake, Labour MP, Hughes said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a better deal for renters and will be bringing forward a Renters Reform Bill in this parliamentary session. We will publish a White Paper shortly that will set out more detail on our reform proposals.”

This now leaves the door open until Spring 2023.

A reminder of what is anticipated;

  1. The application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time ever. A consultation on this is due in the Summer of 2022.
  2. All landlords will be required to register with a new private rented property portal bringing together information about properties in one place. This has advanced the conversation from a landlord register and is likely to put more emphasis on registering property and what landlords need to do.
  3. The abolishment of Section 21 evictions to deliver a radically fairer deal for renters enabling them to challenge poor practice. The introduction of new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears and reducing notice periods for anti-social behaviour means we are unlikely to see court reform. However, officials will need to work through what this means for the existing tenancy set up as essentially through the proposals the Assured Shorthold regime comes to an end.
  4. The introduction of a new PRS Ombudsman covering all private rented sector landlords who rent out property in England, giving private rented sector tenants full access to redress. This puts into focus a distinction between let only services and agents fully managing a property as well as, depending on how it is set up, agents will have recourse if they have complaints about a bad landlord.

 

Rent Controls

Labour MP, Rachael Maskell, asked Hughes: “If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying further controls to rents in (a) York and (b) other high cost areas.”

Hughes responded on Rent Controls: ” The Government does not support the introduction of rent controls. Historical evidence suggests that rent controls would discourage investment in the sector and would lead to declining property standards as a result, which would not help landlords or tenants. Recent international examples also suggest that rent controls can have an inadvertent negative impact on the supply of housing and may encourage more illegal subletting.

“In the Queen’s Speech 2022, we committed to introducing a Renters Reform Bill in this parliamentary session. Through this, we will abolish ‘no fault’ evictions by removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, providing security for tenants in the private rented sector and empowering them to challenge poor practice and unfair rent increases without fear of retaliatory eviction.

“It is important to note that currently if tenants with periodic tenancies believe the level of rent increase is unfair, they can already refer the matter to the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for independent adjudication. The Tribunal will consider whether the rent increase is in line with market rent.”

Article Abridged from Property 118 & Propertymark


Court Possession Cases – Advocacy Service

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Ashley Taylors Legal provide specialist services in landlord and tenant matters throughout the UK including the South West. They are also one of the leading providers of Court Advocates (attendances) in the local County Courts. For anyone interested, they have a part time Advocacy role coming up in the South West area (around Truro). Full training is given to those without experience in Advocacy. If you wish to enquire about the role, please contact Martyn Taylor – mptaylor@ashleytaylors.co.uk

 

If you have a possession case going to court, SWLA members get a discounted rate for Court Advocate attendance from Ashley Taylors Legal.

SWLA members – £180 plus vat (£216)

Usual fee – £210 plus vat (£252)

If you would like to book the Advocacy service, please contact 01825 766767  or newclaims@ashleytaylors.co.uk


Cost of Living Help Announced

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

Cost of Living Help Announced

The UK Government has launched a new £15 billion package targeted at those most in need. As living costs continue to increase, agents and landlords will want to ensure that their tenants receive all the help to which they are entitled.

Funded by a temporary tax on the profits of energy companies, the package is made up of several different components, and individual tenants may be entitled to some or all of these.

While all these payments should be made automatically to those who qualify, tenants should be encouraged to check that they have received all the payments due to them and may need assistance in following up where they have been overlooked.

ONE-OFF £400 PAYMENT

Replacing the £200 payment which was announced earlier this year, every household will now receive a £400 credit directly from their energy supplier over six months starting in October 2022. This will not be reclaimed from future bills as was the intention with the original £200 payment announced.

Direct Debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher. This payment is in addition to the £150 Council Tax rebate previously announced and which is currently being paid.

£650 PAYMENT FOR RECIPIENT OF MEANS-TESTED BENEFITS

This payment will be made in two instalments in July and Autumn to recipients of Universal Credit, Pension Credit and other income-related benefits. To qualify, people will need to be receiving the benefit or have made a successful claim by 25 May 2022. The payments will not impact entitlement to any other benefits.

£300 PAYMENT FOR PENSIONER HOUSEHOLDS

Pensioner households will receive an additional £300 with their annual winter fuel payment in November or December 2022, paid directly to their bank account. To qualify, people must be aged 66 or over between 19 – 25 September 2022.

£150 DISABILITY COST OF LIVING PAYMENT

Anyone receiving a disability benefit, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will receive a direct payment of £150 in September 2022. To qualify, people will need to be receiving the benefit or have made a successful claim by 25 May 2022.

HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT FUND

In addition, the UK Government is providing an extra £500 million of local support, via the Household Support Fund, which helps those in the most need with food, energy and water bills. Help from the fund is delivered by local councils.

Article Abridged from Propertymark


Join Our One Hour Online Adaptations Focus Group!

Posted on June 15th, 2022 -

SWLA are looking for landlords who rent homes in the Plymouth area to take part in a one hour online focus group on; Tuesday 5th July at 1pm.  All participants will receive a £10 Amazon voucher.

We will be highlighting funding for adaptations for disabled and elderly tenants and discussing some of the benefits of future proofing properties for an increased market. You do not need to have any experience of adaptations, nor do you need to have a property that is suitable for adaptation.

If you are interested in participating, register your support by contacting the SWLA office, we will then send you access to the online Zoom event. Guests and non SWLA members are also welcome.

SWLA are working on this in conjunction with the Local Authority and other landlord associations including the NRLA to reach as many landlords as possible.


10% Off TradePoint Plus an Extra 10% Off for SWLA TradePoint Card Holders

Posted on June 8th, 2022 -

In store and online. Friday 10th – Monday 13th June 2022

 


Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms Compulsory from 01 October 2022

Posted on May 20th, 2022 -

New Regulations drafted state, that all rented properties in England must provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms used as living accommodation where there is a fixed combustion appliance, such as gas heaters and boilers, from the beginning of October 2022.

The new draft rules amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 where previously the requirement only applied to solid fuel combustion appliances, such as wood burners. The rules will, however, not extend to gas cookers.

The amended rules (Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022) include a new requirement to ensure when a tenant reports to the landlord or letting agent that an alarm may not be in proper working order, the alarm must be repaired or replaced.

The Draft Statutory Instrument was laid before Parliament on 11 May 2022 and once approved will come into force on 1 October 2022.

Article from PropertyMark https://www.propertymark.co.uk/resource/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-compulsory-from-1-october.html


SWLA Attend West of England Landlord Expo in Bristol

Posted on May 19th, 2022 -

It was great to see some of our members at the Landlord Expo at Ashton Gate, Bristol on Tuesday. We also spoke to lots of landlords who are keen to sign up to the SWLA and attend our Landlord Accreditation and Training courses. The training courses are currently running online – which is great for our members who live further afield.

The day was well attended by exhibitors and delegates. It was good to be back to the hustle and bustle after all of the online meetings of the last couple of years!

 


Queen’s Speech 2022 – A Recap for Landlords

Posted on May 11th, 2022 -

Renters Reform Bill

The Queen’s Speech included reconfirmation of the government’s commitment to legislating on the Renters Reform Bill. This will include;

  • Abolishing Section 21 (known as no fault evictions)
  • Strengthening Section 8 grounds (for when landlords want to move in or sell, or have tenants with rent arrears/anti social behaviour
  • Creation of an Ombudsman for private landlords (to help resolve disputes before they reach the courts)
  • Creation of a property portal for landlords (to help landlords understand their obligations so tenants can hold their landlord to account)

The Bill was first proposed in 2019 so landlords have been expecting this change for a long while.

The Renter’s Reform Bill white paper will be ‘published shortly’.

Reforming the UK’s Data Protection Regime

As the UK is no longer a members of the EU, the government are looking to reform the UK’s Data Protection regime, a Bill is expected, due to be published in summer 2022.

 

For the full speech contents; https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2022


Landlords – Ditch the Tax Jargon – Self-Assessment Explained

Posted on May 5th, 2022 -

Understanding Self Assessment can be challenging for many self-employed people. The technical information can be difficult if not impossible to understand, while – let’s face it – it’s hardly the most interesting subject.

And the use of tax terminology rather than plain English can literally leave many people scratching their head when they’re reading information that should guide them.

Here are a few basic facts that you should know about how Self Assessment works if you’re self-employed, as well as plain English explanations of key Self Assessments terms that’ll you’ll often read or hear.

 

What is Self Assessment and how does it work? 

  • Self Assessment is the system that UK tax authority HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) uses to collect Income Tax
  • The UK tax year runs from 6 April until 5 April in the following year. If you need to declare income via Self Assessment and didn’t file a tax return in the previous tax year, you must register by 5 October in your second tax year. Otherwise – you could be fined.
  • Self-employed people – AKA Sole Traders – and others with income that is subject to Income Tax, must report it to HMRC each year via a Self Assessment tax return (SA100 and any supplementary pages that are required), so that HMRC can work out how much Income Tax and National Insurance is payable.
  • You file your Self Assessment tax return after the end of the tax year it applies to and you have until midnight on 31 January to file it online.
  • You’re required to maintain accurate financial records, so that you can fill in your tax return correctly. You must retain proof of business expenses that you claim.
  • You can claim tax reliefs and tax allowances, which reduce your profits and tax bill. Many of the costs you pay when running your business can be claimed as “allowable expenses”.
  • HMRC can charge you interest and a penalty if you do not file your Self Assessment tax return and pay any tax due before the deadlines.
  • You must submit a Self Assessment tax return if HMRC has asked you to do this (via a “notice to file”) and hasn’t cancelled or withdrawn that request, regardless of whether you believe your income is taxable.
  • The deadlines for paying your Income Tax bills are:-
    • – 31 January for any tax you owe for the previous tax year (called a “balancing payment”) and your first payment on account
    • – 31 July for your second payment on account.
  • Software and apps can make managing Self Assessment far easier. You can pay others to complete and file your Self Assessment tax return or get them to check it if you complete your own Self Assessment tax return. This can provide added peace of mind.

 

 Self Assessment glossary – what does the jargon actually mean?

Accounting year – the 12-month period covered by your business’s accounts, which may or not be the same as the UK tax year (ie 6 April-5 April).

Allowable expenses – business costs that HMRC allows you to deduct from your profits. These reduce your profits and resulting Income Tax bill.

Annuities – a long-term investment issued by an insurance company that’s designed to protect you from the risk of outliving your income. If applicable, details must be given in your Self Assessment tax return.

Balance sheet – a report (usually produced by accounting software) showing a business’s assets and liabilities at a specific time or at the end of the trading or tax year.

Capital allowances – to reduce your profits and Income Tax bill, you can claim capital allowances when you buy capital assets that you keep for use in your business (eg equipment, machinery and vehicles).

Capital Gains Tax – a tax on the profit you make when you “dispose of” (ie sell) an asset (eg property) for more than you paid for it. You provide details of your gain via Self Assessment and pay tax on the gain.

Gross profit – your total sales (also called your “turnover”) minus your cost of sales and direct costs. Your cost of sales are your day-to-day business running costs (ie your overheads or fixed costs), while direct (or variable) costs are those linked directly to the production/supply of specific goods or services.

Income – money your business receives for the products and/or services it sells to its customers. The money you receive is your personal income.

Late-filing – when you fail to submit your Self Assessment tax return before the deadline. You’ll pay a late-filing penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to three months late (more if it’s later or if you also pay your tax bill late).

Marriage Allowance – enables you to transfer £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner, thereby reducing their tax by up to £252 in the tax year.

National Insurance contributions – contributions you pay to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension. Self-employed people pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Net profit – your gross (ie total) profit minus indirect costs and expenses.

NINO – National Insurance number; ensures that your National Insurance contributions (NICs) and tax are only recorded against your name.

Ordinary partnership – a business formed by two or more self-employed people. In law, the people and their business are the same thing, so the partners are both liable for the partnership’s debts.

Personal Allowance – the standard Personal Allowance is £12,570 (2022/23 tax year). This is the amount of income that you can earn without having to pay tax.

Revenue – total income generated by the sale of goods and services that your sole trader business makes.

SA100 – the main Self Assessment tax return that you need to fill out and file. Sole traders often have to complete and file supplementary pages to provide more details about their income or expenses.

Self Assessment – the system that the UK tax authority HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) uses to collect Income Tax.

Self-employed – working for yourself as a freelancer, contractor, agency worker or business owner, rather than being employed by an employer.

Simplified expenses – a quicker and more convenient way of calculating some business expenses using flat rates instead of working out the actual cost. HMRC allows this. Can be used for vehicle and fuel costs.

 Sole trader – an alternative term for being self-employed. In law, there’s no distinction between you and your business. You can keep all of the profits after you’ve paid tax on them – but you’re personally liable for business debts.

Tax relief – these enable you to pay less tax to cover money you’ve spent on business expenses or costs if you’re self-employed or to get back tax or have it repaid in another way (eg into a personal pension). You get some types of tax relief automatically, but you must apply for others.

Tax year – 12-month period covered by a Self Assessment tax return. It’s the same for everyone who pays tax via Self Assessment – 6 April until 5 April the following year.

Trading allowance – the first £1,000 of income that you earn from self-employment is your trading allowance and it isn’t subject to tax.

UTR – Unique Taxpayer Reference – a 10-digit code HMRC uses to identify self-employed people and their businesses for tax purposes. You need to include it in your Self Assessment tax return.

 

Article by GoSimpleTax

GoSimpleTax is jargon free software which allows you to record income, expenses and submits directly to HMRC.

It is a solution for the self-employed landlord, sole traders, freelancers and anyone with income outside of PAYE.

The software will provide you with hints and tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you may have missed.

 

Discounts for SWLA members;  GoSimpleTax


Cladding: Building Safety Bill Becomes Law

Posted on May 5th, 2022 -

The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent on 28th April and was passed into law – however it won’t come into force for two months. The conclusion of the bill process sees confirmation about the level of funding available for the remediation of unsafe cladding in medium-rise buildings (11-18 metres high) in England.

The UK Government reversed its original suggestion to completely exclude leaseholder landlords from plans for developers to cover the cost of cladding remediation in medium-rise blocks.

Under the new legislation, owners of up to three properties in the UK will qualify for the protections. This includes all properties, not just those which require remediation – for example, an owner-occupied principal home plus two let properties.

Landlords with larger portfolios will be excluded from the protections unless the affected property is their primary residence, despite widespread support across the political spectrum for provisions to be extended.

Non-cladding defects

For non-cladding remediation, developers and then building owners will be expected to cover these costs where possible. Building owners will be legally required to prove there are no other sources for funding before passing any costs onto leaseholders.

Building owners will not be able to pass costs onto qualifying leaseholders where they are, or are linked to, the developer or where they have sufficient net wealth.

In the remaining cases, the cost of remediation of non-cladding defects and interim measures, such as waking watches, will be shared between the building owner and leaseholders. Qualifying leaseholders (as outlined above) will be protected by a cap:

  • Outside London: no cost for properties valued less than £175,000; £10,000 cap for properties valued £175k-£1m
  • Within London: no cost for properties valued less than £325,000; £15,000 cap for properties valued £325k-£1m
  • Across England: £50,000 cap for properties valued £1m-£2m; £100,000 cap for properties valued over £2m.

The costs will be spread over 10 years, and any payments for non-cladding defects or interim measures made in the last five years will count towards the cost cap. The building owner will be responsible for any costs above the cap.

There will be no protections for leaseholders in buildings less than 11 metres high, as the Government considers there’s “no systematic fire risk”. Buildings over 18 metres high continue to be covered by the Building Safety Fund.

The Government guidance on the leaseholder protections is available on the GOV.UK website.

Other measures

The Building Safety Bill is an extensive piece of legislation, addressing issues raised by the Grenfell Tower fire and subsequent inquiry. Other provisions include:

  • Requiring building owners to manage building safety risks, including involving residents in decision-making
  • Residents have legal obligation to respond to requests for information from accountable person and to ensure their actions don’t create safety risks
  • New Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive to implement and enforce regulations for residential blocks over 18m high
  • National regulator for safety of construction products
  • Extension of limitation period for build and refurbishment defects to 30 years.

Implementation of the full scope of the legislation is expected to take 12-18 months.

Article abridged from; NRLA

Further information; Building safety leaseholder protections factsheet


Those in Receipt of Legacy Benefits & Tax Credits to move to Universal Credit

Posted on May 5th, 2022 -

  • Government outlines plans to resume helping claimants move to Universal Credit by end of 2024
  • Universal Credit successfully supported millions during the pandemic

All benefit claimants will be moved over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024, with moves from legacy schemes resuming next month, the Department for Work and Pensions announced today.

Today’s announcement reaffirms the Government’s target to complete the programme. The restart follows a pause to the process during the pandemic when staff were focused on supporting the surge of new claimants to Universal Credit.

The six benefits being replaced all have complex and inefficient systems based on aging, inflexible IT. Universal Credit uses a modern, digital system which stood up to the test of Covid-19 where it quickly ensured three million new claimants were protected from the financial impact of the pandemic.

Universal Credit also provides claimants with one to one individually tailored support to help them into employment or to further their career, and people with a health condition or disability who cannot work could receive almost £350 a month on top of the Universal Credit standard allowance.  Additional support remains available for those in need, including the Household Support Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.

The process will resume on 9 May and will be carefully managed. Claimants will gradually be notified of when they will be asked to move to Universal Credit so as to complete the process by 2024.

Everyone moving over from legacy benefits will have their entitlement to Universal Credit assessed against their current claims, with top up payments available for eligible claimants whose entitlement would have been reduced because of the change – ensuring they receive the same entitlement as on a legacy system. These will continue unless their circumstances alter.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey said:

Over five million people are already supported by Universal Credit. It is a dynamic system which adjusts as people earn more or indeed less, and simplifies our safety net for those who cannot work.

Parliament voted to end the complex web of six legacy benefits in 2012, and as this work approaches its conclusion we are fully transitioning to a modern benefit, suited to the 21st century.

Although notifications will be gradually sent out across the country, people who are currently claiming legacy benefits do not have to wait to be moved to Universal Credit. Anyone who thinks they will be better off can move straight away. Claimants can check their entitlement for Universal Credit using an independent benefits calculator.

People who are unsure whether they would be better off should wait to be moved as the transitional protection top up payments only apply to claimants moved by DWP, and people cannot reclaim their old benefits after switching to Universal Credit.

Claimants can also use the separate Help to Claim service for support.

A dedicated helpline – signposted on the notice claimants receive – will provide support to make their Universal Credit claim, and guidance will also be available online. Those in need of further support can also visit their local jobcentre.

Claimants moving to Universal Credit will receive a two-week run-on of their Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance. Those moving from Housing Benefit will receive a two-week Transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment.

Additional Information

  • All legacy benefits will be coming to an end. These are: Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Housing Benefit for those of working age.
  • The Department today published its Completing the move to Universal Credit document.

Article from; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/managed-move-of-claimants-to-universal-credit-set-to-restart


Temporary Pause on Energy Usage Deductions from Benefits

Posted on May 5th, 2022 -

The Fuel Direct Scheme enables energy suppliers and benefit claimants to apply deductions for energy arrears from benefits. In light of the significant increase in energy bills, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has written to UK energy suppliers about plans to temporarily pause requests to pay for ongoing energy usage from benefits from 1 April.

The DWP will no longer facilitate requests from energy suppliers for new or increased ongoing consumption payments in an effort to ease the cost of living pressures for those on lower incomes.

From 1 April, only claimants will be able to request an increase or decrease in ongoing consumption payments for a period of one year. By doing so, they will have greater control over the amount that can be deducted directly from their benefits. If they are able, claimants can contact the DWP and request an increase in payments.

Energy suppliers have been provided with reassurance that existing ongoing consumption payments will be maintained at their current levels.

Article from; National Housing Federation – Temporary pause on energy usage deductions from benefits


TradePoint Bank Holiday Deal – 10% Off ‘The Great Outdoors’ Plus an Extra 10% Off for SWLA TradePoint Members

Posted on April 28th, 2022 -

From Thursday 28th April – Monday 2nd May

For all deals including 20% off bathrooms, kitchens and bedroom furniture – see the TradePoint website – www.trade-point.co.uk


SWLA General Speaker Meeting – A Full House!

Posted on April 21st, 2022 -

On Wednesday 20th April we welcomed over 60 members to our General Meeting at the Future Inn Hotel.

Thanks to our brilliant speakers – Mick Quick from Tech Surveys who discussed forthcoming changes to EPC legislation and what landlords can do about it. Also Annette Stone & Ian Pring from Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants who advised on all landlord tax matters with a focus on Making Tax Digital, Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

We had lots of interesting queries raised from the audience – if anyone did not have a chance to ask their question at the meeting, please email into the office and our speakers will happily provide an answer.

Thank you to Adrian Feeney from Trade Point who had a stand, and was on hand to answer members TradePoint discount queries. Remember – SWLA members get 10% of most items in B&Q via the TradePoint SWLA membership discount.

We look forward to seeing you all again at our next General Meeting on 19th October 2022.


Search the Blog

Request a Call Back

If you are interested in joining us and would like to have a chat please enter your details below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Fill out my online form.

Blog Categories

Monthly Archives